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death penalty

The United States is seeking extradition of Abu Hamza al-Masri, a British imam charged with coordinating a hijaking in Yemen and trying to organize a terrorist training camp in Oregon. But Britain and Yemen both want to press charges against him too:

Eleven charges were announced Thursday by U.S. authorities against Abu Hamza al-Masri, whose real name is Mustafa Kamel Mustafa. He was arrested earlier in the day by British police and is being held in London pending extradition proceedings.

Charges outlined Thursday of providing assistance to terrorists could spark a 100-year prison sentence for Mr. al-Masri, 47. He could theoretically receive the death penalty on the hijacking charge, though the United States probably will have to foreswear that option before Britain, which has abolished capital punishment, will consider extraditing him.

Further complicating the case is the fact that Britain is already considering charges against Mr. al-Masri. Yemen is also seeking his extradition.

“This case could take months and months to sort out,” a senior British security source told Reuters.

This is not a nice guy. He held services at the same mosque that the Shoe Bomber and one of the September 11th hijackers attended. He’s also implicated in working directly with the Taliban and Al-Qua’eda in Afghanistan. Britain was so threatened by him that they’ve been trying to deport him… but now it seems like they want to keep him so they can put him on trial.

Al-Masri, for his part, is sure to do everything in his legal power to stay in Britain and avoid extradition to the U.S. He knows full well that sentencing will be lighter there, and media coverage much more favourable. He’s probably counting on becoming a “martyr” through media coverage and attention, and the British press is sure to oblige.

Yippee. I can’t wait.

Update: The nauseating “political-pawn” articles are already beginning.

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Saw the movie The Life of David Gale today . . . and I must say that, though the acting was decent, I was fairly disappointed with the film’s message. Being against the death penalty myself, I thought there were much better arguments that could have been made. Without giving away too much of the plot for anyone who hasn’t yet seen it, the movie doesn’t succeed in proving that the system is flawed – though it clearly is. Instead, it shows a bunch of people trying to manipulate it in sick and twisted ways that seem contrived purely to keep the audience guessing.

But I guess it made me think about laws in general, and whether or not a law is legitimate even if it can be manipulated for political purposes. All laws are flawed because there’s always a drawback to having them. For example, we could argue that laws against hate speech are flawed because they deny freedom of speech. That’s the American position. Our Canadian position is that putting these limits on freedom of speech is the lesser of the evils, because of the detrimental effect that hate speech has on society.

In the case of the death penalty, though, I tend to think it’s the opposite. The death penalty – largely based on a biblical concept of “an eye for an eye” (which is false – the bible meant that monetary compensation should be paid) – seems the greater of two evils. Partly because it’s ineffective and partly because it’s morally wrong. Ineffective because it doesn’t deter murders or violent criminals, and morally wrong because, to “torture the cliché” (to borrow a line from the movie), two wrongs don’t make a right.

Kevin Spacey sure can act, though!


Death penalty


Elana S. agrees with me about the death penalty. And here I was thinking I was the only one . . . Wow, those folks over at RightWingNews are gonna revoke my award or something!

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Why I oppose the death penalty


Death penalty debate re-ignited in Illinois, where Governor George Ryan commuted the sentences of 150 death row inmates to life in prison: CHICAGO (Reuters) – Saying the death penalty system was broken, the governor of Illinois granted clemency to more than 150 death row inmates on Saturday, a move unprecedented since capital punishment was reinstated […]

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